Persona: emotions and self in Second Life

Kondor Art Centre Main Gallery: Hermes Kondor – Persona

Now open at the Kondor Art Centre Main Gallery is Persona, an intriguing selection of Second Life / Avatar-based images by the art centre’s owner and curator, Hermes Kondor. Intriguing, as that selection of images on display have apparently been selected by Janjii devling – although whether from Hermes’ existing collection of works or from a series of images specifically produced by Hermes with the intent to be used in this exhibition, I have no idea.

The 20+ images are a further tour de force of Hermes’ work as an artist. Each is a rich, digital collage study with an avatar focus. Either presenting a layering of colour or one if monochrome tones, each is a genuinely multi-faceted piece, a glimpse into a life offered through its layered, almost sharded finish, some of which offer a sense of the abstract, others touch upon the surreal, but each one carrying its own narrative. Collectively, these are all exceptionally tactile pieces – they draw out the desire to touch them as much as they call on us to study them and decipher their story.

According to the liner notes accompanying the exhibition, the narrative in each of these images is an intent to explore the idea of persona, the idea that we project facets of our personality depending on circumstance and audience. While this is very true as a theme within the images here, I found it to be somewhat too narrow a view, because while there is a projection of persona in these images, there is a far greater depth of emotion and a capturing of emotional expression.

Kondor Art Centre Main Gallery: Hermes Kondor – Persona

To be fair, this is touched upon within the liner notes, but it is this emotional expressionism that really comes to the fore in viewing the images. In some it is offered directly through the eyes of the subject in the image, or their expression(s), in others it is more subtle – such as the suggestion of music in Persona 091 for example. Of course, emotions and projection  / persona are inter-related, the one tends to give rise to the other; nevertheless so, allowing the mind to explore the former rather than attempting to define the latter – again for me – offered a richer experience.

These are also pieces that, whilst clearly the product of considered experimentation with software, the use of colour or tones, the structured nature of the layering within them, are obviously the result of a cartesian process, both on the part of the software itself (for obvious reasons), and the artist himself. This separates them from what we might regard as “traditional” abstract expressionism in works of art, which tends to be marked by a certain spontaneity, but it also offers a doorway into the medium of digital abstractionism  / abstract expressionism that has a unique richness of its own. Further, and in keeping with the works of Rothko, Newman and Still, these are pieces that carry a strength of symbolism that offers s further narrative avenue awaiting exploration.

Kondor Art Centre Main Gallery: Hermes Kondor – Persona

Evocative, rewarding, challenging and engaging, Personas offers multiple threads of exploration and interpretation. However, when visiting, I would perhaps suggest avoiding reading the posted curator and guest notes that sit on the gallery’s walls along with the images; not because they are in any way “wrong” or anything, but rather because doing so might constrain thinking around, and appreciation of, the images in their own right.


2021 SUG meeting week #37 summary

Missing Melody, May 2021 – blog post

The following notes were taken from the Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 Simulator User Group (SUG) meeting. The meeting was recorded by Pantera Północy, and the video is embedded at the end of this summary. Note this summary focuses on the key points of the meeting; where there is something to report, the video should be referred to should full details of the meeting wish to be reviewed.

Server Deployments

At the time of writing, the server deployment thread had not been published.

  • Tuesday, September 14th: no deployment to the Main SLS channel.
  • Wednesday, September 15th all simhosts should be updated to the same revisions to the new server configuration that was deployed to the Ferrari RC in week #36.

HTTP-Out Proxy

Monty Linden deployed the new HTTP-out proxies in week #36. It wasn’t entirely glitch-free (but not as bad as the August attempt), with issues occurring in a part of the configuration that didn’t allow for immediate correction. Monty hopes that the lessons learnt with make future deployments smoother.

SL Viewer

No updates to the current batch of official viewers to mark the start of the week, leaving the current pipelines as follows:

  • Release viewer: version version, formerly the CEF Update RC viewer, issued July 24 and promoted August 10.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Grappa Maintenance RC, version, dated August 24.
    • Happy Hour Maintenance 2 viewer, version, issued August 23 (dated August 20).
    • Simplified Cache RC viewer, version, dated August 9.
  • Project viewers:
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version, issued September 3.
    • Performance Floater project viewer, version, issued September 2.
    • Mesh Optimizer project viewer, version, issued September 1.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version, dated October 26.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version, dated December 9, 2019.

In Brief

  • The question was asked on why, when set using llCollisionSound, the sound heard on colliding with an object will revert to the default if the script making the change is removed, rather than being retained as a prim property (like other sounds “scripted into” an object). This is because currently, the sound remains a property of the script, but there are plans to make it consistent with other prim properties.
  • LL are working on “stuff” (Mazidox Linden’s term) to help with more efficient script running within regions. The precise details remained unspecified, although some aspects of the work are already on at least some of the RCs channels, and the hope is to get more grid-wide by the end of the year.
  • The Percentage Script Run metric within the viewer stats (CTRL-SHIFT-1) is not seen by the Lab as a particularly useful metric when compared to something like total scripts run, as the Percentage Run metric can depend on circumstance, rather than being indicative of actual simulator performance.
    • Example: a region running 1000 out of 1000 scripts in a frame will report 100%, whilst a region running 1000 out of 10,000 will report 10% – but both are processing the same number of scripts, and so performing equally in this regard.
    • Monty Linden also pointed out that the Percentage Run metric can easily be warped simply by the behaviour of a single script, and noted he has some new internal metrics he is testing that he hopes might provide a better perspective of script performance within a region.
  • The above points led to an open discussion on script processing as a whole: the use of “fairness” policies to prevent parcels within a region making too heavy a call on simulator / simhost resources (including being swamped by heady script loads on avatars, etc.); allocating script memory size; general ideas on improving script efficiency through the use of things like regular expressions; etc.
    • This conversation included a comment from Rider Linden that LL would be interested in the Firestorm script pre-processor were it to be contributed.
    • The suggestion was made that LL could provide HTTP-out access using the AWS Dynamo DB for those who need bigger KVP databases – and it was pointed out that users can always rent their out Dynamo DB stack.
    • No specifics on what the Lab might or won’t do vis scripts and script management, although Monty Linden revealed he’s been personally speculating on the advantages (or otherwise) of “higher level functionality” in the LSL libraries so that “more could be done with less code” – although he has only general ideas of possible functions in this regard.
    • See the video for more on specifics.